Please Welcome Guest Author Sharon Hamilton

Boxed sets are all the rage now.  More and more, authors are banding together to offer readers more bang for less buck.  Today, my friend Sharon Hamilton shares about her recent experience working with a group of authors on one terrific project.

10 Award-winning, bestselling authors – 10 Hot Heroes – 10 Romantic Suspense Page Turners

I think romance writers are a wonderful community of people. Having come to writing after two other successful careers, I wasn’t prepared for the way in which we all help each other. It isn’t like that in other professions.

Some would think we might compete for the same readers. We do, in a sense. But most romance readers plow though 3-4 books a week, and that means 150-200 books a year, times all the millions of readers out there means there is room for millions of books.

It’s a lot of work to write stories that capture the public’s attention. In this new phase of Indie publishing, many writers are pooling their resources to put together collaborations, giving value to a boxed set, in order to attract readers they might not already have. It has been working well. More and more authors are now able to sport the coveted NYT or USA/Today bestselling author label. That will hopefully make it easier for the author to sell more books in the future. And selling books is the business we’re in.

I was asked to be part of a romantic suspense boxed set, Dangerous Attraction, which was just released November 10th and is currently in the #1 spot for Romantic Suspense, Suspense and Military Romance. While we’re excited for this, we also know that success is fragile. These lists are like a snapshot of just one point in time.

NYT Bestselling author Rebecca York, who I met for the first time this year and is part of the set, gives a lot of nuts and bolts details in an article in USA Today on Wednesday. You can follow it here. I think it’s a must read for anyone considering such a move.

We all feel this collaboration will continue throughout the coming weeks and months as we have become friends. We’ve found out what works and what hasn’t worked so well. We’ve learned from each other’s strengths and caught ourselves before making mistakes some of us have already made and don’t need to repeat. I have learned more in the past couple of months since we have been working on this project than I have in the past year.

We didn’t always agree on everything. We’ve had some heated debates. But we’ve worked as a team from beginning to end, delegating, making decisions without too much contemplation or one person exerting their weight and authority. It truly has been a full collaborative effort as good as of some of the best creative teams anywhere.

You’ve heard the definition for TEAM: Together Everyone Achieves More. That’s what we’ve managed to do, and will do again. I think making genre boxed sets rewards readers by giving them more books at an inexpensive price in the same genre they already enjoy reading. In this manner, each author benefits from the fans and followers of each of the other authors.

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Here’s a rundown of the stories and the authors:

From sweet to scorcher, fall in love with our sexy cops, tough military heroes, and hot CEOs. Treat yourself to an amazing reading experience by top authors of romantic suspense collected in one boxed set at a price that can’t be beat.

Ignited by award-winning and national bestselling author, Kaylea Cross – Can sexy ex-SEAL Hunter Phillips keep Khalia safe from the terrorists who took her father’s life? (Scorcher)

Secret Guardian by international bestselling author, Jill Sanders – Will ex-special forces hero, Ethan, save Ann in time, only to lose himself to love? (Scorcher)

Deathscape by Daphne du Maurier Award of Excellence recipient and Rita Award finalist, Dana Marton – Detective Jack Sullivan will do anything to put Ashley in prison for her crimes…even if he’s falling in love with her. (Sensual)

Legal Ease by award winning and national bestselling author Lori Ryan – Marrying Kelly solved the problems this steamy CEO faced at his company, but will he ever be able to forgive himself for the price she has to pay? (Scorcher)

The Killing Game by international bestselling author, Toni Anderson –Forced to choose between his country and his heart, British SAS Soldier, Ty Dempsey risks it all to save a wildlife biologist caught in the crosshairs of a ruthless killer. (Sensual)

Fallen SEAL Legacy by national bestselling author, Sharon Hamilton – Will Navy SEAL Calvin “Coop” Cooper be able to solve the mystery of who is terrorizing the family of a fallen SEAL in time to save the love of his life? (Scorcher)

Three Days in Seattle by national bestselling author, Debra Burroughs – Trying to stay a step ahead of a lunatic set on revenge, Kate and Ryan are locked in a desperate race to find her missing sister and capture the madman before both women wind up dead. (Sweet)

See Me in Your Dreams by Patricia Rosemoor, Golden Heart Winner and two-time recipient of the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award – Her dreams allow her to see through his missing daughter’s eyes, but he thinks she’s a con woman…until she dreams of something known only to him and the girl. (Sensual)

Catching the Bad Guy by national bestselling author, Marie Astor – Top-notch white collar crime investigators Janet Maple and Dennis Walker team up to solve what could be the biggest case of their careers, but will their attraction to each other get in the way? (Sensual)

Bonus Christmas Novella, Christmas Captive by Romantic Times Career Achievement Award Winner and Rita Finalist, Rebecca York – Her special sight let her glimpse the Christmases past of this international financier, but did he have a Christmas future? (Scorcher)

Biography:

Smiling Sharon in Red

Sharon’s award-winning spicy Navy SEALs in the SEAL Brotherhood series, have consistently made best sellers lists and review sites. Her characters follow a sometimes rocky road to redemption through passion and true love.

Her Golden Vampires of Tuscany are not like any vamps you’ve read before, since they don’t go to ground and can walk around in the full light of the sun.

Her Guardian Angels struggle with the human charges they are sent to save, often escaping their vanilla world of Heaven for the brief human one. You won’t find any of these beings in any Sunday school class.

She lives in Sonoma County, California with her husband, and two Dobermans. A lifelong organic gardener, when she’s not writing, she’s getting vera vera dirty in the mud, or wandering Farmer’s Markets looking for new Heirloom varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Sharon Hamilton

Life is one fool thing after another.

Love is two fool things after each other.

Sharon’s Blog ** Sharon’s Website ** Facebook**Twitter

Coming Out Of The Erotic Romance Closet

Recently, Loveswept reissued the “Red Hot Cop” erotic romance novellas I self-published under a pseudonym, Ava Meyers.  A few years ago, I decided to try my hand at writing erotic romance, probably for the same reason (at least partially) that I had been determined to become a lawyer–no one thought I could do it or rather, be good at it.  Even myself. (Side note: I was good at being a lawyer, I just ultimately didn’t enjoy practicing law. Lesson learned. :-))

I’m an introvert. Shy. Quiet. More modest than most. At the same time, I can be pretty bold and balls-to-the-wall, and I like that about myself.  I have hidden depths (of course I do, since almost everyone does!) and one thing about me is I like a good challenge.

Arrested Fleshtone handcuffs

The stories in Arrested by Love were the result of my determination to overcome my inhibitions and write erotic romance. I fell in love with my characters, but one of the hardest decisions I made was agreeing to republish them under my real name, something Loveswept said was important to help with my overall brand.  Did I really want my friends and family, potentially my kids someday, and even readers who weren’t erotic romance fans, to know I’d written these stories?

In the end, I decided I wrote them for a reason–to reach as many readers as possible. I’m known for writing steamy romance, and while these are a definite step in the extreme direction as far as steamy romance goes, bottom line, I think if anyone is going to pick up a book labeled erotic romance, for mature audiences, graphic, etc, then they know what they are getting. And even if they’re going to be critical about the author who wrote it? Well, if I let that stop me, I’d never write anything again, erotic or not.

It’s reviews like this that make the creative risks we take worth it:

“When the characters in the book are naughty, you can almost see the steam rising off the pages. (De Paul has got a vivid imagination.-lol)…If writing were like dancing, I would say that DePaul she would a favorite on Dancing with the Stars. No matter what she writes next you won’t want to miss it.” -RomanceReadersBookshelf.blogspot.com

Banner-300x111Right now, Arrested by Love is on tour.  You can enter to win three $5 Gift Cards. Read about the stories and enter here.

For commenting on this post and telling me what risks you’ve taken that you’re glad you did, I’m also giving away a $10 gift card (reader’s choice of e-book retailers)! **Update: CONGRATULATIONS to Kim H!!! You’ve won the gift card and will be notified by email.

Take care and thanks for all your support!

Falling For Fabio

Last weekend, I got to meet a legend in the romance writing world—Fabio!  A few other romance authors/friends and I stood in line for two hours to see the cover model, who is sponsoring a new protein shake.  He was very personable, took the time to really connect with his fans, and patiently took photos.

I remember one cover in particular that had me swooning over Fabio so many years ago—The Prince Of Midnight by Laura Kinsale.  There were quite a few such covers, however, so meeting him and taking a picture with him holding my own book, Shades of Desire, was awesome.

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Fabio is over fifty now, but still quite handsome.  He held me against his side while we were taking pictures and I must say, he is still very fit, as well.  Maybe those protein shakes really help out!

My Random House editor sent me some concepts for my new Belladonna Agency series.  It’s a paranormal romantic suspense and I believe we’re going in quite a sexy direction.  I can’t wait to keep you posted!

Anyway, do you remember Fabio?  Have a favorite cover model or book cover?

Guest Cyndi Faria Talks Winning Storylines

I’m so excited to welcome my friend and critique partner Cyndi Faria to Magical Musings.  Cyndi is one of the hardest working and passionate writers I know.  Welcome, Cyndi…

I’d like to thank Magical Musings Author Virna DePaul for inviting me to guest blog today about how I finally settle on a winning storyline.

Since, well, forever, my mind has churned out storyline after storyline. Sometimes, the characters inside my head shake me awake in the middle of the night with the first sentence hook, complete with dialogue, tension, and setting. Since I have to put words on paper just to shut them up—and get some rest—I let my groggy eyes and lazy fingers scribble something on the pad I keep on my nightstand for such emergencies. Then I tell the gang to go back to sleep. Most of the time that works. But not always, and I find my computer screen lighting up the midnight hour until the wee hours of the night. Some would say I’m lucky to have so many homemade movies stored inside my imagination.

Virna, my CP, might beg to differ as I discuss most of those stories with her. I’m sure she rolls her eyes—and no wonder she doesn’t ooVoo or Skype me. ☺ [Virna: I don’t roll my eyes, I’m in awe of all the ideas she has!]

So how do I decide which story to focus on when writing my next novel? First, I have a file where I jot down story plot ideas. Most stories fade away, but some hang on. And the characters won’t let go.

I have to ask myself, as all writers must ask themselves: Why write this story? Detailed by what my protagonist must endure, what message (theme) do I want to share with readers?

Sometimes I’m stumped, so the story gets shelved.

But sometimes, the characters poke at me day and night until I can finally narrow down what’s bothering them, what they truly want from life, both mentally and physically, and how they must embrace change to reach their ultimate goals.

Once I’ve figured that out, even if I’ve written a scene or two, I can edit the piece to show the protagonist’s flaws, attributes, fears, desires, motivation, and goal. And finally, the theme of the story.

My question is, what is your favorite type of story or story theme?

Leave a comment for a chance to win my newest eBook—A Promise Worth Remembering.

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My latest short romance titled A Promise Worth Remembering, Book 2 in the Promises Collection, hit #3 in Short Romance Free Kindle. Bailey Yant must realize her unwillingness to embrace the future is keeping her locked in the past. If she doesn’t learn to trust the hero Tucker Pierce and leave the past behind, she’ll fall into a life of cynicism and loneliness with nothing but memories to keep her company.

SHE’S CLINGING TO THE PAST

After ten years, tiger preserve owner Bailey Yant never thought heart-breaker Tucker Pierce would return to Safe Haven. With a hundred-year-old feud between the Pierce and Yant families escalating, and despite a mystical lovers’ rock stirring memories of their forbidden love, she’s walled up her heart tighter than her sanctuary. When her prized tiger trespasses onto the Pierce’s hunting range, and poachers threaten not only her tiger’s safety but the livelihood of her preserve, will Bailey open her heart and trust Tucker in time to save her endangered Bengals?

HE’S OFFERING A FUTURE TOGETHER

At seventeen, Tucker Pierce fell in love with Bailey’s strength the day he’d pulled her from the river and promised to make her dreams come true. However, to keep Bailey safe from his abusive father, he risked everything—and in the process lost her to another man. For ten years, he’s kept his reason for leaving Safe Haven secret, but he can’t forget the promise he made to her or who his heart belongs to. After finding the widowed Bailey standing on their special rock, will he finally convince her to trust he’s a man of his word?

TO SEE HER DREAMS COME TRUE, WILL SHE RISK TRUSTING…A PROMISE WORTH REMEMBERING?

Excerpt:

Tucker’s gaze found Bailey’s and held.

Corkscrewed into her heart until her chest hurt. Smoothing her chin with her palm to quiet the quivers spidering across her face, she raised her brows and expected him to say more.

But he only stared.

She lifted a palm, a subtle wave before she dropped her arm to rest at her bare thigh. What could she say to him? Hello? How have you been? Too many questions riddled her mind to settle on a single syllable.

Pointing upstream, he repeated, “It’s important we talk… I’ve seen…tiger.”

If what he needed to discuss caused him concern, why hadn’t he crossed the river or driven to the preserve? They were adults and she didn’t have any problems with Tucker, only his father.

No matter… Most likely he’d seen some of her tigers housed in the sanctuary. Because of their natural instincts to hunt large game, they slinked along the north side of the property to stalk deer that paused where the gentle slope led to the water’s edge. But bridging their past with small talk?

She didn’t want chit chat. She wanted answers, she wanted justice, she wanted the resolution she promised herself she’d never stir up, but couldn’t let go. Like their forbidden relationship, those feelings were better left undisturbed. Only seeing Tucker voided all warnings of caution she’d erected. She waved him over to her side. “We can talk over here.”

****

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Cyndi Faria is an engineer turned romance writer whose craving for structure is satisfied by plotting emotional and cozy paranormal romance stories about cursed spirits, lost souls, harbingers, and even a haunted coastal town. If you love a tale with courageous heroes and heroines, where their unconditional love for each other gives them strength to defeat their inner demons, Cyndi Faria invites you to enter the pages of her stories and find happily-ever-after.

On and off her sexy romance pages, this California country girl isn’t afraid to dirty her hands fighting for the underdog and caretaking rescued pets. Find her helping fellow writers and leading readers to happily-ever-after at www.cyndifaria.com

For more about Cyndi visit:

Website: www.cyndifaria.com (Follow for updates and weekly posts)

Twitter: @cyndifaria

Facebook: Cyndi Faria

Amazon Author Page:  http://amzn.to/15ABJ5a

“But I don’t wannah!”

When my oldest son was a toddler, he threw some hellacious tantrums.  They almost always surprised me, but I handled them pretty well.  Calm.  Loving.  But also firm.  He learned pitching a fit would only exhaust him, not get him what he really wanted.  I like to think he also learned that I’d always love him and be there for him, even when he made mistakes.  Meanwhile, I grew more adept at spotting when he was tired or hungry before he melted down.

So what does this have to do with writing?

My muse has been throwing a big ‘ol tantrum for quite a while now.  It used to be I could write everyday, all the time, anywhere.  By degrees, I’ve lost this ability.  I’ve tried everything I could think of to FORCE myself to write the way I used to, including hiring a writing coach and renting office space so I’d get away from the distractions at the house–but nothing’s really worked.  Eventually, I decided to view my muse’s tantrum as an opportunity to try writing a different way.  Not constant.  Not fast.  Not intense.

Not as an escape.

Not the way it used to be, but rather the way it obviously needs to be right now–a way that leaves room for watching TV and reading for pleasure and hanging out with my family again.

I’m enjoying all of it.  My life is more balanced.  I still feel guilty for not writing as much as I once did, but at the same time, I’m giving my muse the space she needs to get over her tantrum–and convince her I’ll stick by her and love her even when she’s difficult.

A specific benefit of giving my muse some space?  I finally watched all the current episodes of The Walking Dead and Downton Abbey.  Now I know what all the fuss was about.  Are you a fan of either one?